Fans of Facebook and other social media portals will be no stranger to the buss feed.com type of “quiz” that abounds and circulates in offices on Friday afternoons. Totally meaningless and devoid of any worth what so ever they seem a tad compelling. For the want of a few clicks on a series of randomly selected statements or pictures we can learn so much about ourselves, anything from our spirit animal; the colour of our aura, (I once had my aura read for real – for real who am I kidding – and was told it had slipped – a bit like my morals then) who’d play us in the movie of our lives; which Shakesperian character we are and all points in between and roundabout. I’m guessing it’s all to do with algorithms or maybe it’s just all complete and utter nonsense, right up there with the idea that everyone born on a certain day of the year shares the same fate. Or anyone born between certain dates is having the same sort of day. And algorithms that’s a thing too, most of us never heard about them until people started scaremongering about said social media’s use of them to dictate what we see on our pages; or how dating agencies help you meet the partner of your dreams. Currently Facebook’s algorithm assessment of me is foisting adverts for slippers, shirts, dating for over 50’s and funeral insurance. But maybe they do have the power of the oracle in which case I’d better get going on that dating for over 50’s thing, before I need the last one of the list.
But what if, what turned up on your FB feed in any given 24 hours, was to be taken as a guide to who you are and what your friends are like. Not for me a gallery of cat pictures or snaps of what people are planning for lunch, instead I get a regular rant from a friend who abhors people who eat (hot and smelly) food on trains. I suspect it’s a class thing! And if the comments and the shared posts are a sign of anything it’s clear from that most of my friends are pretty depressed, grumpy and permanently angry about so many things.
So I have people getting hot under the collar about the appalling police treatment of the Protesters in London including and the fact that police arrested people bringing food and water to the protesters. The same people are very worried indeed at the plans for Hungary to start taxing internet usage as a challenge to free speech, and anything to do with the creeping privatisation of the NHS is widely decried, as is the suggestion that GPs in England and Wales should, get aid £55 every time they diagnose someone with dementia.
Women’s issues pretty much go down gender lines with female chums posting and sharing widely the US video of kids using bad language to make a few feminist points about unfairness in the workplace and the fact that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted or raped at some point. One male friend suggested that these were US figures only – as if somehow that was OK! On the issue of young prostitutes in Columbia, the Fox News’ suggestions that pretty young things shouldn’t get involved in politics when they are so many dating sites they could spend time checking out instead, the exploitation of au pairs and the fact that all flexible working means is that its making it “easier” for women to take the double burden of childcare and work, male chums are pretty silent. The hot issue of the EU maternity Directive’s lack of adoption by the Commission ( 4 years after its adoption by the EU Parliament) has caught the eye of only the most European chums, though the fact that post natal depression costs the UK 87 billion a year is sighted as further proof that women are undervalued in the UK. Men chums on the whole are also quiet on the stories trending about football violence in Europe in the last 24 hours. Neither defending nor decrying it! However on the petition to stop Chad Evans being resigned to his club and the question of whether Oscar P’s sentence was just, those, with one exception, who have commented have shown that their cages have been rattled. Though confusingly they can’t decide if footballers are role models or not and they are more concerned with issues of the impact of the verdict on racism in South Africa than on the impact on the victim’s family.
Those friends who have a healthy scepticism of the police and all things authority don’t just have their activities in Westminster square to howl abut but also the fact that 3 immigration officials have been caught lying on oath and a massive trial has collapsed into the bargain. Yet on the other hand I have friends whose shock at the axe-wielding thug who attacked police seems to be more shocking because the critical victim is a policeman and similarly the pending release of Harry Roberts who killed 3 policemen in 1966 and who has served 45 years for the crime is re-igniting the debate of whether somehow killing a policeman is worse than killing anyone else. I can’t find a link though if the people who claim Ched Evans has served his time, think the same for Mr Roberts. This tendency to cherry pick moral outrage is a mystery and no mistake, and one fuelled by people’s use of social media.
Occupy supporters are up on their hind legs too and I’m grateful for the friend who posted up a list of issues from the 1956 Republican manifesto, it not being what we might expect:
1956 REPUBLICAN PLATFORM
1. Provide Federal assistance to low paid communities
2 Protect Social Security payments
3. Provide asylum for refugees
4. Extend the minimum wage to more people
5. Improve Unemployment Benefit
6. strengthen Labor Laws
7. assure Equal pay between the sexes
Though their disgust at Facebook not paying taxes in the UK for a second year running is pretty unequivocal
The North South divide, flamed by the post indy lack of progress, is everywhere. From how London will benefit to the tunes of billions from fracking to obscene house prices in London to all things fracking in general and the impact on Scotland, to fury over the BBCs decision to exclude the SNP from election leaders debates, to outright glee that all supporters of NO seem to be reaping what they sowed by YES consumers turning against them so Michelle Mone is going bust as is Tescos, BBC are losing licence fee payers and several newspapers circulations are in terminal decline: and to think it was going to be a YES vote that buggered up the Scottish economy. And don’t get them started please on the “official” announcement that far from running out next Thursday oil revenues, due to “new” discoveries, are set to rise and continue for hundreds of year. And I think it’s fair to say that these same folk are dismissive of what the Smith Commission might deliver….. sweet FA being the general view. And there is not enough space in the blogosphere to capture the rabid hatred of the Scottish Labour Party amongst a certain cohort of friends.
But parochial they are not there is widespread shock and condemnation of the shootings in the Canadian parliament though I detect a touch of EBOLA fatigue. Chums aren’t terribly green either there being minimal interest in the selling off of public forests, and people are split between whether Lynnda Bellingham is a national treasure (there is even a post from a friend suggesting we all sign a petition to get her OXO ad back on the telly for Xmas which would serve OXO and their shareholders very well but not any-one else), or whether dying people really should keep it to themselves. And finally friends have posted about and shared links to articles that say we should all wear poppies and alternatively why we should not. Who says Facebook isn’t democratic.
I’m not criticising or applauding people for their choice of posts or shares, some I agree with others I don’t, it’s all just part of this “rich tapestry of life” and other clichés and I would rather have my typical Facebook day filled with issues and passion rather than insults and pussycats. Though I’m not entirely immune; interspersed with all this angst and outrage and moral high grounding are the posts about where people have eaten and what they have been to see at the movies or theatre (bit guilty of that myself if truth be told) and the usual first world problems of the horror of the school run, what’s been “Overhead in Waitrose and a smattering of baby photographs.
But for the record just two cats. Oh and in case you were wondering What Kind Of Friend I Am, apparently I’m a dreamer who is also rather strangely an absurd over achiever and my Horror Monster Soul Mate this Halloween is the Bride of Frankenstein. Maybe these quizzes aren’t so odd, they may have a point, I was a truly appalling wife back in the day!!